Blog Caroling – Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza

Per Wikipedia, “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” is a carol that originated in the Provence region of France in the 17th century. It refers to two female farmhands who discover a mother and son in a stable. They tell the village residents, who all come to visit the stable.

Again, according to Wikipedia, children in this region dress as shepherds and milkmaids, carry torches and candles, and sing the carol on their way to Midnight Mass every Christmas Eve.

You can hear a version of “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” on YouTube performed by the Robert Shaw Chorale at

Also on YouTube, you can hear it sung in French as Un Flambeau, Jeanette performed by Renée Fleming accompanied by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at

The French version of the lyrics per Wikipedia is below:

Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle

Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle —
Un flambeau! Courons au berceau!
C’est Jésus, bonnes gens du hameau.
Le Christ est né; Marie appelle!
Ah! Ah! Que la Mère est belle,
Ah! Ah! Que l’Enfant est beau!
Qui vient là, frappant de la porte?
Qui vient là, en frappant comme ça?
Ouvrez-donc, j’ai posé sur un plat
Des bons gateaux, qu’ici j’apporte
Toc! Toc! Ouvrons-nous la porte!
Toc! Toc! Faisons grand gala!
C’est un tort, quand l’Enfant sommeille,
C’est un tort de crier si fort.
Taisez-vous, l’un et l’autre, d’abord!
Au moindre bruit, Jésus s’éveille.
Chut! chut! Il dort à merveille,
Chut! chut! Voyez comme il dort!
Doucement, dans l’étable close,
Doucement, venez un moment!
Approchez! Que Jésus est charmant!
Comme il est blanc! Comme il est rose!
Do! Do! Que l’Enfant repose!
Do! Do! Qu’il rit en dormant!

The English version of the lyrics per Wikipedia is below:

Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella

Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella!
Bring a torch, to the stable call
Christ is born. Tell the folk of the village
Jesus is born and Mary’s calling.
Ah!* Ah! beautiful is the Mother!
Ah! Ah! beautiful is her child
Who is that, knocking on the door?
Who is it, knocking like that?
Open up, we’ve arranged on a platter
Lovely cakes that we have brought here
Knock! Knock! Open the door for us!
Knock! Knock! Let’s celebrate!
It is wrong when the child is sleeping,
It is wrong to talk so loud.
Silence, now as you gather around,
Lest your noise should waken Jesus.
Hush! Hush! see how he slumbers;
Hush! Hush! see how fast he sleeps!
Softly now unto the stable,
Softly for a moment come!
Look and see how charming is Jesus,
Look at him there, His cheeks are rosy!
Hush! Hush! see how the Child is sleeping;
Hush! Hush! see how he smiles in dreams!


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6 Responses to Blog Caroling – Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

  1. Wendy says:

    I have always enjoyed this song even though it’s not one you hear that often. It is so joyful. It captures the mood of Christmas.

  2. I love this carol. Thanks for sharing it and have a lovely holiday season.

  3. Thank you and Marry Christmas, Elise.

  4. Nancy says:

    This is one of the carols that once in my mind, stays there for ages. I love it! Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas to you!

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